Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava has officially endorsed Sen. Annette Taddeo to be the next Governor of Florida.
At a joint press conference Tuesday in downtown Miami, Levine Cava — the first woman Mayor of Florida’s most populous county — threw her support behind Taddeo, who if elected would become the state’s first woman Governor, as well as the first Latina to hold the position.
“We need fresh leadership (at) the top of state government,” Levine Cava said, describing herself as a “proud Democrat” who hopes to see less state interference in local matters. “Unfortunately, we’ve continuously seen, coming from Tallahassee, a complete undermining of local control — a complete silencing of our local leaders and government mandates that are threatening the very freedoms we enjoy as Americans. We must reverse course, and this begins with electing a new Governor in 2022.”
While Levine Cava did not elaborate as to which instances of state overreach she was referring, her administration and other local governmental bodies have repeatedly butted heads with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration.
In July, Miami-Dade joined other counties in defying DeSantis’ executive order against COVID-19 restrictions. A month later, the Miami-Dade Public School Board mandated masks for all students in opposition to another executive order from DeSantis. (The district later reversed that position after a court ruled in favor of the Governor.)
Taddeo, who joined Levine Cava in addressing the press conference’s attendees in both English and Spanish, similarly called for less quarreling and more collaborating between state and local governments.
“We should not have the state taking away our resources and decisions being made in Tallahassee when they should be made here,” she said. “We need a Governor, more importantly, that understands that working together is how we move our state forward, that every community needs the support from the Governor, but not the encroachment of the government.”
Levine Cava described Taddeo, whose Senate District encompasses 19 Miami-Dade neighborhoods, as a “homegrown leader” whose history of fighting for workers’ rights and experience as a working mom and small business owner will benefit residents across the state.
With a war chest far smaller than DeSantis and her two main Democratic opponents, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, Taddeo may be an underdog. But that doesn’t necessarily count as a disadvantage, Levine Cava said.
“When I ran for Mayor of Miami-Dade County a little over a year ago, I was considered an underdog (with) no name ID running against a former two-term, popular County Mayor who had a lot of money. But when you have a vision and when you have a passion to serve the people, the people will respond,” she said. “That is what Annette is building, a true movement that is fueled with passion and vision. She is the very essence of the American dream. She’s a working mom who launched her own small business. She’s been on the front lines working alongside leaders like me to advance an economic agenda that ensures that every single resident has a true shot at their American dream, with livable wages, with access to paid sick leave and the opportunity to leave behind a mark for their children and their grandchildren.”
Levine Cava’s endorsement follows a passel of nods Taddeo has received from current and former officials since she launched her campaign in October, including Republican former Rep. Juan “J.C.” Carlos-Planas and Democrats, including Sen. Victor Torres of Orlando, Rep. Kevin Chambliss of Homestead, Miami-Dade Commissioner Jean Monestime, Miami Beach Commissioner David Richardson, Orange County Property Appraiser Amy Mercado, former Rep. Richard Rangel, former Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner and former Pinecrest Vice Mayor James McDonald.
Taddeo was also among many who endorsed Levine Cava in her 2020 bid for Miami-Dade Mayor.
On Monday, Taddeo announced plans to hit the road in a recreational vehicle to visit all 67 counties across the state, an echo of sorts to the 91-day, 1,000-mile campaign trek Lawton Chiles, the last Democratic Governor of Florida, made more than 30 years ago.
The following day, she told Florida Politics she hopes to spread a message of civility, belief in science and deliver tangible results for all Floridians.
“We spend so much time bringing down everyone else, including the incumbent Governor, and we don’t do enough to talk about the things we bring to the table, which is some balance, some science and just being able to have a back-and-forth in a respectful way in Tallahassee,” she said. “We’re not going to leave anybody behind.”